The Performance of Memory

The Performance of Memory

Mar 10, 2017 By Avinoam Patt | Commentary | Purim | Shabbat Zakhor

On the Shabbat before Purim the maftir Torah reading includes the following verses:

Remember what Amalek did to you by the way, when you came forth out of Egypt … you shall blot out the remembrance of Amalek from under heaven; you shall not forget it. (Deut. 25:17-19)

Because of this reading it is called Shabbat Zakhor (Remember). The verses recited in Deuteronomy are in effect already a remembering of what Amalek did shortly after the flight from Egypt.

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Remembering Pesah 1946

Remembering Pesah 1946

Apr 22, 2016 By Avinoam Patt | Commentary | Pesah

Every Passover as we read the Haggadah, we recite:

In each and every generation, a person is obligated to regard himself as though he actually left Egypt. As it says: “You shall tell your son on that day, ‘It is because of this that God took me out of Egypt.’” (Exodus 13:8)

Seventy years ago, in April 1946, the first Passover in postwar Germany followed the liberation of the concentration camps. The survivors who gathered to form the She’erit Hapletah, the surviving remnant, felt this transition from slavery in a more immediate sense than any generation of the children of Israel in the 2,000 years that preceded them. 

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